Will the Marseille electoral springboard propel Mélenchon to the post of Prime Minister?
Two weeks before the legislative elections, far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon is continuing his campaign and dreams of becoming Prime Minister. During the recent presidential race, Mélenchon obtained more than 70% of the votes of young people in the disadvantaged northern suburbs of Marseille.
Since 2017, Jean-Luc Mélenchon has been a deputy for the 4th constituency of Bouches-du-Rhône, which brings together the main districts of downtown Marseille. He has decided not to stand for re-election next month.
In the troubled neighborhoods in the south of the city, known as “Quartiers Nord”, the candidate of La France insoumise (LFI) obtained an average of 43% of the votes in the presidential election last April (51.48% in the 15th borough). More than 70% of young people in the northern suburbs of Marseille voted for him.
“He knows how to talk to young people. He wants to set up a system to help young people. When you’re under 25, you’re not entitled to RSA [minimum income for people with no resources]so he wants to create a system that accompanies young people, which is a minimum to be able to live, look for a job or get training,” Salim Grabsi, a member of the Quartiers Nord Quartiers Forts action group, told RFI.
In the Northern Districts, the unemployment rate for people under 25 has reached 60%.
“A politician who understands”
The northern districts are located in four districts of Marseille: the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th, about ten kilometers north of the Old Port. These neighborhoods represent a third of the area of the city and are home to 29% of its population, or 250,000 people.
According to Grabsi, another factor that motivated young people to vote for Mélenchon is that, for the first time, they felt they had a politician who understood them “and above all who does not use the religious context – Islam, Muslims – to win”. voice.
“If I have to take anything away, it’s that he was able to breathe hope into territories that have been broken, that haven’t seen the light for a very long time.”
Grabsi knows the Northern Quarters well. He works there in a secondary school and is involved in several organizations that help young people.
Give young people a chance
“What we need is to do everything possible so that our young people can succeed. This means opening up the field of possibilities and above all fighting against social determinism.
“And for that, we need the State, the local authorities, the city of Marseille, the department, the region, to come around the table and co-construct innovative responses with us.
“It is absolutely necessary that the inhabitants and the young people be the driving force.”
In the Quartiers Nord, dozens of small, unsubsidized groups work seven days a week. “These organizations serve as a social airbag and ensure that the neighborhoods do not explode or collapse.”
In September last year, French President Emmanuel Macron spoke of an “urgent need to accelerate” the transformation of Marseille as he rolled out a multi-billion euro plan called “Marseille en grand”, to deal with to a “social, health and security emergency”. “.
“It’s frustrating, we can’t wait to see the results of the president’s announcements, to see the state and the local authorities come to the depths of these areas and connect with these organizations who are doing a remarkable job,” says Grabsi. .
As for the next legislative elections in Marseille, Grabsi simply says “may the best win”.